Plumbing Work

Plumbing Work

A building permit is not required for the following types of work in any building or within 5 feet of a building’s foundation:

  • Stopping a leak in a water, drain, soil, waste, or vent pipe (Removing and replacing a water, drain, soil, waste, or vent pipe, or concealed trap with new material requires a building permit.)
  • Clearing a stoppage or repairing a leak in a pipe, valve, or fixture, provided that such repair does not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of a valve or pipe or another fixture
  • Removing and reinstalling a water closet (toilet)

A building permit is also not required for the following types of work in a residential building up to 4 stories above grade or an associated accessory building (such as a garage) on the same lot:

  • Repairing or replacing (in-kind) a hot water heater

“In-kind replacement” means replacement of existing materials, objects, or elements using new materials, objects, or elements of the same type, size, and shape.

Lead-Safe Work Practices

Work must comply with lead-safe work practices required by city, state, and federal laws. You may be required to file a Lead-based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Form with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) before beginning work involving lead-based paint.

Code Compliance Required

Any work performed without a building permit, as allowed by Section 14A-4-402 of the Municipal Code, must still comply with all applicable requirements of the Chicago Construction Codes. Section 14A-4-402 does not waive any applicable requirements of the Chicago Construction Codes or of the Municipal Code other than the requirement to obtain a building permit.

If you have a question about whether proposed work is code compliant or requires a building permit, please visit the Department of Buildings assistance counter on the 9th floor at City Hall.